Synacor might split out its Cloud ID and Zimbra businesses, CEO says

With apologies to the Oldsmobile (may it rest in peace), this isn't your father's Synacor. In fact, the only constant at Synacor of late has been change.

Synacor, once a public company, went private last year after getting acquired by private equity firm Centre Lane Partners – a deal that came together roughly eight months after Synacor and Qumu scrubbed their proposed merger. Update: Qumu, just this week, inked a deal to merge with Enghouse systems.

The composition of Synacor's business also has undergone significant change. Synacor, once the proud owner of a major portal deal with AT&T, sold its portal and advertising business last year to iMedia Brands.

What's left is Cloud ID, a long-time business focused on authentication and single sign-on platforms for streaming apps and other types of digital subscription services, and Zimbra, the open source email platform/service that Synacor acquired in 2015.

And Synacor has a new CEO. Marc Zionts, an exec late of Precision Nutrition, Automatic Insights, Numerex, Aicient and Ortiva Wireless and Westell Technologies, took the helm of Synacor about a year ago.

Zionts joined the Light Reading Podcast to discuss his plans for Synacor. He said it was determined that the company's parts are worth more apart than they are together, precipitating the move to go private, the sale of Synacor's ad and portal businesses and, potentially, an eventual separation of Synacor's existing Cloud ID and Zimbra businesses.

Synacor "got to a point where the company had some nice size, but it was still what you might call sub-scale for having multiple businesses," Zionts explained. "2022 was a year of transformation. If I had to put a headline on 2023, it's about … growing this business – both businesses – again, and then accelerate into 2024."

Meanwhile, Zionts expects the Synacor brand to head to the background while Cloud ID and Zimbra become the primary focus. At some point, Synacor might separate those businesses or explore combinations with other, larger businesses.

"We want to establish Cloud ID as a recognizable brand with recognition and brand equity and value just like we've done with Zimbra, because in the end, these will probably be two different companies," Zionts said. "Synacor won't be around. There will be a Cloud ID company. There will be a Zimbra."

You can download a lightly edited transcript of the podcast here. If you want to skip around and listen, here are a few topics discussed during this podcast:

  • Zionts provides an overview of Synacor – the past, present and potential future (2:00)
  • Zionts' thoughts on how the open source approach is key to Zimbra and how he believes Synacor can expand Zimbra's business focus (4:15)
  • Zionts' priorities for Synacor in 2023 (6:10)
  • On growth opportunities for Cloud ID – both domestically and internationally – amid a broader shift in the video and content sector towards the direct-to-consumer model (8:25)
  • Why it's important for content providers and distributors to shift to streamlined, single sign-on platforms (12:30)
  • On how Cloud ID is becoming a brand, and how that could tie into a future in which Synacor separates its remaining Cloud ID and Zimbra businesses (19:30)

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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